No decision on Wembley Stadium bid until autumn, says FA chief
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No decision will be made on the future of Wembley Stadium until the autumn, the head of the FA has said.
In a letter to the FA Council, chair Greg Clarke said talks to flog the home of English football to Fulham owner Shahid Khan for a reported £500million were at a “very early stage”.
“Let me be very clear that we are a long way from making any decision on a potential sale,” he wrote. “Next week’s [council] meeting should be seen as a preliminary discussion to help us understand the range of views as the process moves forward.
“At the earliest, it will be the autumn before any decisions need to be made.”
The news follows the decision by Brent Council to award £17.8m of public money to private developer Quintain to spruce up Wembley Park, despite the uncertainty surrounding the stadium.
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There has been a huge public backlash against the plans to award the community levy cash, a planning charge on private developers made by local authorities, to the off-shore company.
Replacing the “pedway” ramps up to the stadium with steps, and “improving the walkway” to the Tube station are among plans.
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At a cabinet meeting last week Barnhill Labour backbencher Cllr Shafique Choudhary asked the council to delay its decision until the bid had been resolved.
He said: “They should wait until the ownership of Wembley Stadium is finalised. The new owner may want to make more money from the stadium, with more events, and may want to keep the pedway. We don’t have to spend £17.8m, the council can hold on to it.”
In the letter, Mr Clarke also said the offer was being considered because the board believed it was a “potential opportunity to invest in the game’s number one challenge, the poor state of community football facilities”.
He also said should a deal be done, it would include a ban on renaming the stadium, and the new owner would have to abide by the same rules as the FA have done, and if the government agrees any changes would still need government approval.